Newly revealed audio from a 2019 phone call has shown how Rudy Giuliani pressured Ukrainian officials to investigate baseless allegations about Joe Biden, CNN reported on Monday.
In the call Giuliani, then working as a lawyer for Donald Trump, pushes the Ukrainian officials on the call to publicly announce an investigation into Trump’s 2020 rival.
“All we need from the president [Zelenskiy] is to say, I’m gonna put an honest prosecutor in charge, he’s gonna investigate and dig up the evidence that presently exists and is there any other evidence about involvement of the 2016 election, and then the Biden thing has to be run out,” Giuliani said, according to the audio that was obtained by CNN.
The US diplomat Kurt Volker, and Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, were also on the call. Some details of the roughly 40 minute conversation have already been made public in a transcript, obtained by Time Magazine earlier this year.
Giuliani also reportedly promised that if the Ukrainians complied with his request it would “clear the air really well” and that he would talk to Trump to make sure “misunderstandings are put aside”. He also added that it “could be a good thing for having a much better relationship”.
The call occurred prior to the now infamous conversation between Trump and Zelenskiy, during which Trump hinted that US military aid might depend on the Ukrainian president’s willingness to “do us a favour” by announcing an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
That call ultimately formed the heart of the first impeachment case against the US president. The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump in December 2019, but he was acquitted by the then-Republican-dominated Senate early in 2020.
Giuliani is currently under investigation for his involvement in the Ukraine controversy, including claims that he violated lobbying laws in attempts to get information about the Bidens.
In April, federal prosecutors investigating Giuliani’s business dealings in Ukraine at the time he was serving as Trump’s lawyer raided his home and office, seizing cellphones and computers.
Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, has not been charged. He has denied wrongdoing and said after the raids that his conduct had been “absolutely legal and ethical”.
Giuliani began representing Trump in April 2018 in connection with then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.